- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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No. 1: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Analysis: Belichick is the easy choice. He’s mostly dominated the AFC East since joining the Patriots in 2000. Belichick also has five Super Bowl appearances and three championships in New England. He has kept the Patriots consistently in the title hunt and is a sure Hall of Famer.
No. 2: Rex Ryan, New York Jets
Analysis: I can hear some grumbling from our AFC East community with this pick. Ryan could be fired after this season, and he certainly has his flaws. He’s boastful, says things he regrets and is very limited as an offensive coach. But Ryan also is accomplished in his four years as head coach. He’s only had one losing season, is a great defensive mind, and made it to back-to-back AFC title games. It’s hard to rank Ryan lower than No. 2 when the two remaining coaches haven’t accomplished nearly as much.
No. 3: Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins
Analysis: Philbin did a solid job in his first year in Miami. He won seven games and didn’t have many head-scratching moments. Philbin also has an even-keeled demeanor to handle the highs and lows. One criticism is Philbin may be a bit too much on the conservative side of wanting high-character players, otherwise known in Miami as “Joe Philbin guys.” However, Philbin is not alone in the NFL.
No. 4: Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills
Analysis: There is no debating this one. Marrone has no track record as head coach of the Bills after leaving Syracuse University. Marrone will get to prove right away how good of a head coach he is. The Bills will host Belichick and the Patriots in Week 1, which provides a huge opportunity for Marrone to make a statement.